Sunday, December 23, 2007

Merry Elfing Christmas!

Please note: the dancing elves are no longer watchable, so don't bother clicking the links in this post.

Courtesy the genius creators at ElfYourself.com, Biscotti and I are pleased to present to you the Aubertin clan performing a holly jolly Christmas jig. Watch our dancing (s)elves by clicking here.

And here are some friends doing a very similar jig...
If you've done one up and it's not listed, please send me the link.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Does He Read Them? Can He?

FYI, Yann Martel is still mailing books fortnightly to Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Book number eighteen - Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka - was mailed yesterday.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

TSN Doubleheaders

Further down in this post is a full transcript of communication between TSN and me, but first the backstory. Last week TSN - Toronto Sports Network - attempted to broadcast an NHL doubleheader. At 4:30pm PST they began airing the Montreal Canadiens versus the Toronto Maple Leafs. At 7pm PST they were supposed to begin airing the Vancouver Canucks versus the Anaheim Ducks, which featured Todd Bertuzzi playing his first game in Vancouver as a non-Canuck. However, the Habs/Leafs game went into overtime, and then into a shootout; and before the shootout could begin, there was repeat zamboni-ing due to careless zamboni-ing. At 7:21pm PST, with TSN still not showing the 'Nucks/Ducks, I felt compelled to send them a comment via their website. And so it begins...

My comment to TSN via their website's contact us:

Sent: Tuesday, November 27, 2007 10:21 PM

the canucks/ducks game on november 27th has started and i'm watching a zamboni driving nonstop around the ice in toronto... COME ON!!! SHOW THE CANUCKS!!! BERTUZZI!!!

TSN's email to me:

Date: Thu, 29 Nov 2007 13:44:57 -0500

Hi Rob,

Thank you for emailing TSN regarding Tuesday night's NHL game featuring the Vancouver Canucks vs. the Anaheim Ducks. I understand your frustration and would like to take this opportunity to explain why TSN joined-in-progress the Canucks game.

It is TSN policy to always broadcast a live event until its completion, and Tuesday's NHL game featuring the Toronto Maple Leafs vs. the Montreal Canadiens was no exception. The Leafs/Canadiens game went to a shootout and ran longer than anticipated. Subsequently, TSN was forced to stay with this game until its conclusion. Following the shootout, TSN did not televise any post-game interviews or analysis from the Leafs/Canadiens game and immediately switched to live coverage of the Canucks/Ducks game.

Understanding that coverage of the Leafs/Canadiens game would overlap the start of the Canucks/Ducks game, TSN commentators mentioned numerous times that TSN would go to the Vancouver game immediately following the completion of the game in Toronto. TSN also showed live coverage of the Vancouver puck-drop at the start of the game in a split-screen. At 10:21 p.m. ET, TSN joined the Canucks/Ducks game in the first period with the score still 0-0.

I hope that this letter conveys how seriously we take our programming responsibilities. Thank you for taking the time to write to us.

Regards,
Chobi
Audience Relations

My email to TSN in response to their email to me:

Sent: November 29, 2007 5:06:47 PM

Chobi,

Thanks for writing back. I understand why the start of the Canucks/Ducks game wasn't aired, but seeing as how the games involved were regular season and not playoffs - where games can have indefinite lengths - it was preventable. Here's a solution: Don't buy the broadcasting rights to two regular season games that start two and a half hours apart. Games that end in regulation time take the full two and a half hours to play, so there wouldn't be time for much postgame analysis or interviews anyway. Plus, there is a fairly good chance that any given regular season game will go into overtime then into a shootout (as we saw on Tuesday). Regardless of what happens, we can be very sure that any given regular season game will end in under three hours. So for doubleheaders, how about choosing to only broadcast games that start three hours apart, eg. 4pm and 7pm PT. Between games there would then be time for postgame analysis and/or interviews, whether the first game ends in regulation or requires extra time.

Rob

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Thursday, November 22, 2007

How 'Bout a Pinky?

Last year I emailed a friend asking for his full mailing address. He gave it to me in a reply and added, "but if you send me a bomb I'll be pissed". Today I emailed a different friend, asking for his full mailing address. He gave it to me in a reply and added, "anthrax and letterbombs will be promptly returned to sender".

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Be Good, Lose Weight, Pics of Kittens

I recently discovered that Douglas Coupland blogged during the summer of 2006 for The New York Times. In one post he writes about an experience while in Cologne:
I met Nick Hornby in the hotel lobby. His flight was canceled and so he had to kill the afternoon at the hotel, which is the most boring thing that can happen to you on a tour, so I commiserated. His new book is coming out in May. I think its title is, “How to Be Good.” His publisher told him he’ll sell thousands of copies unintentionally to people who’ll think it’s a self-help book, especially in the U.S. We then tried to think up names for novels that would sell thousands of copies based purely on the name. My best idea was, “Lose Weight Fast With Pictures of Kittens.”
A different post on the blog includes a link to Jenny Holzer's list of truisms.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

BookCrossing Catches

When I release bookcrossing books into the wild I am hopeful they'll get journaled, but I don't expect it - my current release/catch percentage is 10.028653295128939. Most of the 349 books I've released have been in well-populated areas where it is likely that dozens of people will see the abandoned book within a couple of hours of its release, whether it's on a park bench or inside a Georgia Straight or Westender free newspaper box, two of my more common release locations. The more people who see it, the more likely that someone will be brave enough to pick it up and check out the BookCrossing website.

In June I released Danger on Shadow Mountain into the wild - literally. Biscotti and I went for a hike in Lynn Valley to attempt Coliseum Mountain and I left it on a log about an hour's hike up from Norvan Falls; Norvan Falls being a two hours hike from the parking lot. The number of people who would see the book that day and even for the following week was much much fewer than for my regular releases, therefore I knew that the likelihood of receiving a journal entry were very slim. Against all odds, I received an email within a week alerting me to the book's capture. So far most catches of mine have ended there, one journaled catch and nothing after. DoSM, though, got re-released and caught again by someone else!

However, the Night Train journey remains my favorite - released by me in Stanley Park, it was subsequently journaled and taken to Europe, where a second finder caught it on a bridge in Edinburgh. But if brevity and mystery is more your thing, check out the catch for 776 Stupidest Things Ever Said.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Das Indians

I have added many pics from 2005 and 2006 to the previously-2007-dominated Surrey Indians photo album on flickr. Take a look, won't ya?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Where to Lunch?

Biscotti and I wanted to go out for lunch today. Our first choice was Anton's. No can do, they didn't open til 4. Our next choice was Chianti Cafe. No can do, they're closed for good. What?!? Really? According to the infallible internet, yes, really. There is a Chianti Cafe blog, and it looks like it was created just to do one post, thereby creating a place for customers to comment and share memories. Scrolling those comments, I came across my third entry on Misuse List, Literally. For the record, we had all-you-can-eat lunch with L&G at Taisho at Metrotown.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Lauding Local Letters

In this week's Georgia Straight [November 8-15, 2007] (which has an online story about "Cyprus" Mountain):

I didn't bother to respond to your article "Gas prices affect TransLink" [Oct. 25–Nov. 1], as I expected others to jump on the rich irony. As this has been neglected, I wish to point it out in an alternate headline: "TransLink dependent on cars". Is there no conflict of interest to having the body responsible for promoting mass transit receiving a quarter of its funding from people ignoring mass transit? Is it not at least ironic that TransLink would be disappointed that less people are driving due to high gas prices? All this is further highlighted by this week's report of senior TransLink officials unabashedly charging the taxpayer up to $15,000 in one year for their car allowance. I mean, c'mon.
> Mike Soret / Vancouver

In Wednesday's Vancouver Courier [November 7, 2007]:

Re: "Mayor disappoints the disabled," Nov, 2.
Oh I get it! Just like the executives at TransLink, who promote bus travel to the masses while soaking the taxpayer for their car travel expenses (the bus is too inconvenient and time consuming for these fat cats) the mayor, all comfy with his six-figure income, adapted vehicle, and staff-recommended parking meter exemption decal, has one set of standards for himself and another for everybody else! Let those on disability incomes feed their grocery money to the meters, limp to food banks for Kraft Dinner, and generally stay out of your way. Mr. Sullivan, NPA, as you sit pretty with your parking perks, callously distancing yourself from the realities of people needing help, consider yourself on notice: come election time, the disabled will not be ignored. We will spend the hours needed to book the HandyFART albatross ride (four days in advance) and God-willing, if they show up, you will not be twirling the Olympic flag for the world in 2010! Count on it!

Lynne McDonald, Vancouver

Monday, November 05, 2007

The Blog Show Winner!

Once upon a time I held a contest: The Blog Show. The draw date was six months ago today, and a couple of weeks after the draw the winner, Jason, received his grand prize. Yesterday I received an email from Jason, with pictures attached of the on-the-spot prize (toy cat) and the grand prize (bottle of wine).

Here's what Jason had to say, followed by the pics..

Hey Rob,

Thanks much -- we enjoyed the bottle, and still hide the cat in unsuspecting places around the apartment for each other. :D

Cheers lad!
Jason

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Cat in a Harvest Moon


Cat in a Harvest Moon
Originally uploaded by jblueafterglow
This is one of a dozen or so pumpkins that Biscotti carved. We had the front path way all done up spooky-style, complete with a portable stereo playing a cd chockfull of eerie "music". Unfortunately, the number of trick-or-treaters rivaled the number of pumpkins and we are left with several buckets of candy. So come on over and help yourself! Just keep your grubby paws off the Junior Mints and Swedish Berries.

Monday, October 29, 2007

BoSox Did Win

In 2004 the BoSox came back from three games to none to beat the New York Yankees in the ALCS before sweeping the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series, their first Series win in 86 years. In 2007 the BoSox came back from three games to one to beat the Cleveland Indians in the ALCS before sweeping the Colorado Rockies, a team that had come into the Series having won 21 of their last 22 games.

Dance, Jonathan Papelbon, Dance!

Idling Cars and Amber Alert

Dear guy who had his SUV stolen on Saturday evening while his two-year-old daughter was sleeping in the backseat,

I am happy that the car was found with the girl safe and sound, but you, sir, are an idiot. You were probably going into Mac's for a very short period of time and it was far easier to leave your daughter asleep in the car - I can understand that. But what I can't understand, and what should get more attention than it will, is why you would leave your daughter in the SUV and also leave the doors unlocked and the engine running. Horrible horrible horrible. Neglectful. It's bad enough to do that anywhere, and you just happened to do it in the city known as the Car Theft Capital of North America. Had you taken the keys with you and locked all the doors it's safe to assume that this incident would not have happened. This was likely a crime of opportunity. Someone saw your idling car with no one around and thought, hey, why not. They probably didn't notice your daughter in the backseat as they drove away, but as soon as they did notice her they stopped the car and got the hell away on foot. There are some people who, especially in colder weather, start their cars in the morning then let it idle and heat up while they go back inside their homes. More often than you'd think the car then gets stolen, and the owners don't give the whole truth because they'll look foolish. Go ahead and continue to leave your car unattended, unlocked, and idling, but don't ever ever do it with a child in the vehicle. I would think that would be obvious enough, but obviously it's not.

Sincerely,
jblue

And now to the Amber Alert program, a very important program that seems so easy to implement in cases such as the above, but apparently it's not. From this MSN news site, here are some details:
  • E-Comm, the province's emergency centre, is responsible for alerting local radio station CKNW when an Amber Alert is issued. CKNW is then responsible for circulating the information to other media outlets.
  • At 9:50pm on Saturday, the girl's father entered a convenience store in Surrey, B.C., leaving his daughter asleep in his idling, unlocked SUV.
  • The SUV was then stolen with the child in the backseat. Her father ran back into the store and immediately called 911.
  • An Amber Alert was issued for the toddler at 10:30pm, but CKNW was not notified of the alert until 11:02pm.
  • The radio station broadcasted the alert at 11:31pm and CTV News was formally notified of the emergency at 11:32pm.
  • By this time, the child had already been found.
So the gist of it is that it took an hour and forty minutes after the incident for the Amber Alert to be broadcast - and if CKNW was notified at 11:02pm, why didn't they broadcast the alert at 11:03pm instead of half an hour later? It's all extremely disappointing.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

1h31m

Mid-summer I began running regularly, every other day. Traveling trails in Pacific Spirit Park I went for about half an hour the first few times, then extended it to 50 minutes, restricted to leashing-optional trails because of our fat donkeys. For the past month or so I've been running the same circuit, finishing with a grueling-for-me uphill. Gradually getting stronger I lowered my time to 44 minutes. But, while running the same distance faster is good, that doesn't help with my goal of running a half-marathon (and then a marathon). So today I did my regular circuit in reverse, and went I got to the start/finish I turned around and did the circuit normally. One hour and thirty-one minutes later I was back at the start/finish and very chuffed.

That is 50% longer than my second longest-in-time run. Until now, I have never run regularly, but many years ago I used to do the Sun Run every year. Eight or nine years ago I had run the 10K Sun Run in 59 minutes and two weeks later I ran a 10K at UBC in 45 minutes - the 14 minute differential all about the huge mass of people (approx. 40,000 people) at the Sun Run and nothing to do with any improvement on my part, because there was none. It was just a fortnight later and I did nothing to train in between. Anyway, that 59 minute Sun Run is no longer the longest-in-time run of my life. But I'm left wondering how far I ran today.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

BoSox Will Win

Here's why the Boston Red Sox will win the World Series this season - possibly tomorrow - and why I've known this since the early days of summer.

In 2004, Biscotti and I and my parents and brother were out east and saw a BoSox game at Fenway Park in Boston; it was the first time Biscotti and I had ever watched the BoSox play in person. They were playing the Toronto Blue Jays, August 16, 2004, and the BoSox won 8-4 to halt a losing skid and subsequently went on a tear to finish the season, ultimately winning the World Series for the first time in 86 years despite being down three games to none in the ALCS to the New York Yankees (and, in game four, the BoSox had been losing by a run in the bottom of the ninth before winning that game and the following three - still gives me chills).

I guess there was no curse, they just sucked for 86 years.

Which brings us to this season, in which Biscotti and I for the second time ever see the BoSox play in person. This time it was at Safeco Field in Seattle on June 26, 2007. The Seattle Mariners prevailed 8-7 in an extremely exciting game. So we see them in person in 2004 and they win the World Series for the first time in 86 years. Then for two years we don't see them and they don't win the World Series. Then in 2007 we see them in person again, it only follows that they'll win again to make me, Biscotti, and the BoSox two and oh. When the BoSox were down three games to one to the Cleveland Indians, I had no fear. Me, Biscotti, and the BoSox are an unbeatable trio.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Palmerston North

My mom is in the middle of a five week trip to Palmerston North - population 75,800 - to visit family, especially her mom whose health has been in flux lately. Get well soon Noone! It was a friend's birthday on Monday and Biscotti and I joined the friend and a few others on Saturday for dinner at Macaroni Grill. Our server was from New Zealand. I said me too, kind of, where in New Zealand? She answered Palmerston North.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Misuse List, Literally

Over the years I have seen and heard numerous misuses of the word literally. Unfortunately, I did not document those examples. That stops today. Now, every time I see or hear any misuse of the word literally I will update this post. Also, please send me - via any avenue available to you - stories or links to any misuses you come across. If no link, make sure you tell me where you read/heard the misuse so I have something to put in italics. Thanks!

Here are three literally-relevant items:
1) a web log that amuses as it educates
2) a May 6, 1998 column in The Globe and Mail
3) the following video, Dictionary of Jack: Literally



Here are some misuses I've read and heard...

14.02.2009
Dreamworks animation boss Jeffrey Katzenberg was literally keeping Kilmer on a short leash, sitting next to him at interviews and generally not letting him out of his sight. --- A Vancouver 24 hours article. Link.

04.06.2008
"If I had that game on in my living room, my friends and I would end up smacking each other. Like, literally killing each other." --- Interviewer on the television show, "Electric Playground".

09.05.2008
"What you need to do in a case like this, is literally become the bigger person." --- On-the-street color commentator on The People's Court.

05.05.2008
"The Kooks are literally on a tear." --- DJ on CFOX 99.3FM at approximately 3:20pm, talking about said band's tour schedule.

25.04.2008
"The fans are literally right on top of you." --- A commentator - talking about the arena's seats in relation to the players on the ice - during playoff game between New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins.

31.01.2008
Feature we brag about: “The best thing is the location and the price. We always brag that we get to go on vacation every day. No matter what the day might bring, no matter what stresses are in our lives, we just go to the beach, sit on a log, and watch the sun set. Perfect paradise, literally in our backyard.” --- From the My Digs feature in Westender. Link.

22.01.2008
"... Literally the story is unfolding before us." --- A policeman on Global Television news, 11pm, commenting on a shooting death that took place a few hours earlier.

11.12.2007
“When you take a look at Britney Spears and her behavior, it’s very frightening. She’s a person who’s completely addicted to sugar. This is like heroin for a junkie. She’s literally on a roller coaster to hell.” --- Dr. Timothy Brantley, a PhD who educates patients on the power of food, from a column on the Access Hollywood website. Link.

17.11.2007
Venice High School dodged a bullet last week -- literally and figuratively. --- from a Los Angeles Times column about a school shooting; "only injury was to a boy who fell and hurt his wrist as he tried to get out of the line of fire". Link.

15.11.2007
"She could literally take a sharp turn right at any moment." --- on the TV show Survivor, Todd discussing Courtney's wavering alliances.

08.11.2007
I literally grew up in that restaurant with many years as staff as a teen, and then many years of my 20s with my family... --- posted by Sarah in the comment section of a blog post by Chianti Cafe. Link.

18.10.2007
"Anything can happen - literally." --- chef Bob Bedard on film catering, in a Georgia Straight article. Link.

06.09.2007
[Luciano] Pavarotti, the literally and figuratively larger-than-life tenor whose recordings sold more than 100 million albums, and whose voice boomed everywhere from the Metropolitan Opera to Johnny Carson's Tonight Show, died about 5 a.m. Thursday at his home in Modena, Italy... --- from a Yahoo! Music article. Link.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Recent craigslist Best-Ofs

After unsuccessfully perusing craigslist for a chair that fit certain parameters, I browsed the best-of-craigslist section for a few minutes. In the rough I found some diamonds. Here are links to three diamonds, with one local entry:

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Canuck Watching in New Places

The three games the Canucks have played this season have been watched by me at four places at which I had never before watched a Canucks game.

Friday's season opening loss was watched at K&K's new place, which they moved into over the summer. While there I shared a celebratory cigar with MM on the arrival of E.

Saturday's win was watched in two places. I was in Whistler with Biscotti and L&G and we watched the first two periods at our suite, then walked over to Buffalo Bills (passing within ten metres of a very visible black bear) where we watched the third period and overtime.

Yesterday's horrendous loss was watched at Cedar Cottage Neighborhood Pub. Even though we have lived a mere three blocks away since November 2005, this was our first time at CCNP. It's a hidden gem and we will be back soon and often, maybe even for Friday's game. Join us?

Holiday Eating

Went to Whistler over the Thanksgiving long weekend with L&G. Had a couple of interesting outings at dining establishments.

The first occurred at the Squamish White Spot, a lunch stop during Saturday's drive up. After waiting about ten minutes to even talk to someone about sitting down, we were eventually led to a table. Fifteen minutes after sitting we had yet to meet our server. She finally came, apologized for the delay, took our orders, and disappeared. We then noticed some garbage on the floor 2-3 feet from our table: something that resembled crumpled toilet paper and an empty cream container. Over the course of our stay in the booth, we watched as many staff members acknowledged the garbage by glancing down and stepping around or over it, and yet the garbage remained during our meal and in fact was still there when we left. Nice pride White Spot. More than half an hour after ordering, we finally see our server again, who comes bearing food and another apology. Turns out she's the manager and the kitchen is understaffed today. Yeah, it is prime lunch time on a holiday weekend, why be prepared for that? And yet they have enough staff for someone to walk around vaccuuming during our meal, intentioanlly bypassing the aforementioned garbage.

Up in Whistler, we dined out at Earls on Sunday night. No drama until ordering time. We'll focus on Biscotti, who wasn't very hungry and simply ordered wings and a caeser salad for her and me to share. She asked for it to come before the rest of the meals. No problem. The server asked if she wanted the caeser salad side-order size or entree size. Entree side. Done. 15-20 minutes later our meals are brought by a female not-our-server. Hmmm, so much for the wings and salad beforehand. Wait, there are no wings and there is no caeser salad; instead there is a thai noodle salad that no one ordered. Biscotti tells not-our-server the error for her to relay and not-our-server tells L that the side salad that comes with her meal will be out soon. Ten minutes later a guy carries wings and a caeser salad over, puts it on the table, and drops to a knee. He says that he's a manager and apologizes on behalf of our server, it's her first day serving and she's very nervous. The wings and salad are comped. L then asks him if her side salad will be out soon, and he goes off to check. After he walks away Biscotti tells us she had to bite her tongue to not point out that he had brought her a side-order size caeser and not the entree size she had ordered. Two minutes later L has her salad brought by another female not-our-server.

Come on people, just because it's a holiday weekend doesn't mean you can vacation while on the job.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Betty Krawczyk

Last Friday Biscotti and I participated in our second consecutive Critical Mass. Also participating was Betty Krawczyk. In the Straight Talk section of last week's Georgia Straight (September 27 - October 4, 2007), Matthew Burrows wrote a bit about her:

The first thing Betty Krawczyk did upon release from the Alouette Correctional Centre for Women on September 25 was to eat a breakfast of eggs over easy and hash browns.

Once she placed her order in the Maple Ridge restaurant where she sat with friends, the "very excited" 79-year-old environmental crusader wasted little time relaying her plans to the Straight via cellphone.

"It is going to be a family day at home tonight," Krawczyk said. "My daughters are cooking shrimp and prawns. Tomorrow there is a rally at the courthouse at 5 p.m. [to commemorate her release]. Then I have to look around my apartment and see that it is all in one piece after I've been away for so long."

On March 5, Krawczyk was sentenced in B.C. Supreme Court to 10 months in prison after facing a charge of criminal contempt of court. She was arrested on three occasions, and charged with contempt of court, for opposing the bulldozing of West Vancouver's Eagleridge Bluffs and defying a court injunction to stay away from the site.

Krawczyk said her resolve has only been strengthened by her time inside. "The people in power are simply bound to the corporate welfare system," she said. "We need people who are not career politicians or looking to make politics a career, but are looking earnestly to move forward the human consciousness in an evolutionary way, that recognizes there is no way we could be a good or civilized society unless we consider the very weakest of the portion of the population, and also consider the very weakest links on the environment."

Krawczyk said she is considering running for office in the 2008 Vancouver municipal election or the next federal election, which could be called at any time.

"I call people that advocate cutting down Eagleridge Bluffs 'death-oriented'," Krawczyk added. "We have to get people in office who are life-oriented and who want to have a society in which life is the primary purpose of celebration, not the accumulation of large amounts of wealth for a few people."

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Pacific Spirit Park

This post expands on the the previous post's first Best of. Biscotti and I were walking our dogs in Pacific Spirit Park on Thursday afternoon when we were asked if we had received a notice about the University Golf Course / Pacific Spirit Park controversy. We hadn't. The asker was Shelagh Dodd, who gave us a notice (pictured - click it to enlarge and read) which summarizes the controversy and encourages the reader, likely a park user, to email or fax their views and concerns to the five listed government officials. I have just finished emailing the five and hope you do so too. Visit the Pacific Spirit Park Society website by clicking here.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Best of Best of Vancouver 2007

Excerpts from this week's Georgia Straight issue, the 12th annual Best of Vancouver.


Best political sand trap

Maybe you can explain this to us. So Vancouver park board commissioner Marty Zlotnik, an avid golfer, is displeased that the Musqueam have been given the UBC golf course as part of a land-claims settlement. Zlotnik - did we mention he's a park board commissioner? - has a better idea: trade the Musqueam a second-rate chunk off the ass end of Pacific Spirit Park to get the approximately 50 hectares back. Yeah, Marty, let's de-protect managed parkland so we can enshrine some AstroTurf you have to pay to caress, and that requires endless watering and weeding. Now there's a park board commissioner talking. Oh, wait, he was speaking as a private citizen. Course he was. Fellow commish Loretta Woodcock, in asserting that COPE board members won't support Zlotnik's suggestion, said: "I find it disrespectful that Marty is telling the 1.5 million users who visited Pacific Spirit Park last year that that property is of lesser value than a golf fairway." Zlotnik must have thought he had a gimme, not the double bogey this is turning into.


Best Example of Municipal Rebranding Gone Wrong

When municipal politicians voted in early August to change our region's name from the Greater Vancouver Regional District to Metro Vancouver, it was no doubt well intentioned. "GVRD" sounds like, say, a gastrointestinal disease. But why choose a moniker that's just advertising for one of the local commuter papers? (Have you tried Googling "Metro Vancouver"?) And won't Metro Vancouver fool tourists into thinking we have a fully fledged subway system like Paris or Moscow does, instead of just good ol' SkyTrain? Maybe it has more to do with our sucky-boo-ba councillors suffering from performance anxiety during overseas junkets, as they told reporters at the time, and GVRD just didn't seem, well, engorged enough.


Best place to live the need-for-speed dream

The streets of Vancouver
Just ask Fast and Furious wannabe Xiao Zhang, paroled in August after killing a New Zealand tourist in a hit-and-run at the corner of Granville and Drake. Though he fled the scene (and the city) and never even showed for his sentencing, he served only four-and-a-half months for the crime. The lesson? Regardless of how many lives you ruin, your carelessness, smugness, and refusal to accept blame will always be rewarded. Oh, Canada.


Most Bewildering bus-riding behaviour

Although there are always street people who talk to themselves and display strange behaviour (hey, we've been known to giggle to ourselves when the stress just gets too much), what is more confusing is the behaviour of riders who seem normal and display logical yet thoughtless behaviour. For example, the ones who board an almost empty bus, yet stand directly in front of the exit, even though they're not ready to get off, thereby blocking anyone trying to disembark. WTF?


Best place to go blind

Downtown Vancouver on a rainy day
Contrary to popular belief, the best place to go blind in Vancouver is not Wreck Beach. (Though there definitely are a few shrivelled body parts flopping around there that could do permanent damage if stared at too long.) No, if you are longing for an excuse to sport an eye patch, simply head downtown the next time it rains (don't drive - there's a catering truck in the city's last street-parking spot) and take a stroll under any of our hundreds of awnings. Once there, you will find that roughly 90 percent of those carrying umbrellas will also be fighting to get under that awning in an effort both to keep their umbrellas dry and to jeopardize your depth perception. Why do they give out tickets for jaywalking, but not dry-walking?



Most annoying doggone trend

Dogs play in dirt, sniff each other's bums, eat off the ground, and are often smelly and unhygienic. So why are people increasingly bringing them into stores, particularly ones that have food products, instead of leaving them outside as they should (or in the case of food premises, as they must, according to B.C.'s Health Act)?


Best things not to think about while shopping for your pampered pooch

While you are waiting for Fido to finish his time in the spa, or browsing to find Fifi the most marvellous luxury stroller, do not, on any account, let your mind stray to the fact that there are more than 1,000 children in government care in British Columbia, waiting in temporary foster homes for someone to adopt them.


Best decorated bridge

The Burrard Street Bridge, inaugurated in 1932, is the oldest existing bridge in the city, and also the most decorated. Massive concrete pylons, embellished with marine motifs in art-deco style, hide part of its steel superstructure. At either end, the bridge is flanked by huge representations of the cylindrical glass and wrought-iron braziers that Canadian forces in the First World War used to keep themselves warm. Its popularity is also its millstone: to increase capacity, city council has chosen to expand its sidewalks. The original cost of $14 million has since been disputed; Heritage Vancouver's Donald Luxton pegs the true bill at closer to $50 million. The battle - and the bill - seem to be taking on Olympic proportions. Forgotten in the brouhaha is the fact that the undercarriage of the bridge could accommodate a second deck - way back in 2002, architect Peter Reese suggested the creation of what he called "Snauqway", combining a pedestrian and cyclist bridge with a mix of First Nations interpretative kiosks, commercial enterprises, and art studios.


Best East Van summit

From the intersection of Lakewood and East 4th Avenue, the roads in all four directions go downhill. You're at the highest point of East Vancouver's Grandview Ridge, with fine views west across the city to the Point Grey peninsula in the winter months.


Best $600,000 the Canucks Ever Spent

Signing Trevor Linden for 2007–08
For less than half the price of Jan Bulis, Linden proved to be a great fit with the Sedin twins on the power play and tied Mattias Ohlund as the Canucks' leading point scorer in the playoffs last season. Plus, Linden - known to spend extra time when visiting fans at BC Children's Hospital and Canuck Place - is legendary for his community service.



Best defier of suburban death

Gordon Scott
The audacious Newton resident is often the squeaky wheel at bike events like Critical Mass. But when about 50 cyclists (including Surrey councillor and former mayor Bob Bose) descended on Scott's home turf on March 24 for the inaugural Surrey Critical Mass, few expected Scott's near squashing on the Fraser Highway. An impatient overtaking dump truck almost pasted Scott to the two-laned tarmac as he hailed the eager riders on his sound system. Documentarist Robert Alstead digitally shot the whole incident -
link to video.


Best adult toy store

Occupied
221 Abbott Street
www.occupiedshoppe.com
Elevate your mind - this Gastown shop isn't that sort of adult store. But it is a fun find to turn friends on to - adult and otherwise. Occupied is packed with sweetly clever kawaii (anything cute) Japanese toys, sock monkeys, notebooks, stationery, and bags. Owner Miss Jenelle says that gifts from Occupied will distract you, make you happy, and comfort you. They make us smile.


Best sign that you've really made it – Japanese

Japadog
Northwest corner of Burrard and Smithe
www.japadog.com
We reported on this cool hot-dog cart last year (owner Noriki Tamura arrived in Vancouver in early 2005 and had the cart operational by May), at which time it operated on a somewhat chaotic schedule. We've been thrilled to watch as Vancouverites and tourists joined Japanese students - who knew a good thing when they tasted it - in lining up for Japadog's Japanese-style hot dogs. How successful is Tamura? Hours now are almost regular, Tamura has staff, he's got a Web site, and he's planning to expand in Vancouver, to other parts of Canada, and then to Japan.


Best Vancouverisms on-screen

Although Vancouver is readily recognizable in any number of Hollywood blockbusters (particularly ones involving Marvel superheroes such as the X-Men and the Fantastic Four, who are often mistaken for local residents now), the city had the rare chance to play itself in the Douglas Coupland-written Everything's Gone Green. From Expo 86 shirts to oversize black sunglasses for sun-sensitive Asians, it delivered an endless parade of Lotusland in-jokes. But will anyone who isn't from Vancouver get those references too? Who cares - we looked fabulous.


Best sign Vancouver is a reunion hot spot

Band reunions have been all the rage this past year, with Vancouver lucky enough to be chosen as the launch pad for not one but two mega-act reunion tours: the Police and the Spice Girls. What could possibly be the reason for the choice of Vancouver? Geography? The cheaper Canadian dollar? The answer is probably somewhere between ah di di di ah da da da and ah zig ah zig ah.

-----------------------

It’s tricky, but KCC is prettying up its ‘hood
by Anne Roberts

Kensington-Cedar Cottage

One of the best views in the city has always been heading north on Knight Street, just before you plunge down the Kensington hill at East 37th Avenue. The mountains loom larger there than anywhere else. There's a gorgeous vista of downtown, the orange cranes in the port, and the tree-lined streets of Kensington-Cedar Cottage. Driving that route this summer, I was startled to see high-rises, nearly as big as the mountains, sticking up like sore thumbs into my view.

As a long-time resident of the area, I knew the towers were under construction at Knight Street and Kingsway Avenue. In fact, I'd chaired the residents' committee supporting the project and gone on to be a city councillor when the project got approved.

But like many other KCC residents, I still find myself surprised when I'm out walking and buildings eight, 12, and 19 storeys tall jut into a view down a side street of single-family homes. "Omigod," we say to one another. "They are so much bigger than what we thought they would be! What have we done?"

Dubbed King Edward Village, the high-rises are being built on the triangle of land where Knight, Kingsway, and King Edward Avenue converge. The project will contain almost 400 condos in both high- and low-rise buildings, plus 114,000 square feet of retail space and a 7,500-square-foot branch of the public library.

What residents hope we've done is set in motion forces that will transform this strip of noodle shops, nail salons, and car dealerships into a lively, attractive neighbourhood shopping area. We hope it will become the heart of KCC.

It's part of a civic-planning exercise that started with CityPlan in 1995. Kensington-Cedar Cottage was one of the first two neighbourhoods to develop a local vision, a way to put CityPlan into action in the neighbourhoods.

It's a stretch to call KCC - roughly bounded by Fraser and Nanaimo streets, Broadway, and East 41st Avenue - a neighbourhood. With a population of about 45,000, it's larger than most cities in the province, including West Vancouver and Penticton. You can't find a more multicultural population. More people speak Chinese at home (38 percent) than speak English (33). People don't share a history. The area doesn't even have a central business district like Kerrisdale or Commercial Drive. It's not much more than sprawling retail strips along Fraser and Victoria with Kingsway slashing through the middle.

Undaunted, a small group of KCC residents met for two years and came up with a plan that council officially adopted in 1998.

Unlike NIMBY types in other parts of the city, we supported zoning for new types of courtyard and row housing that would surround this new neighbourhood centre. And we backed large-scale retail and residential development at Knight and Kingsway - eco-density, if you will, long before the present mayor copyrighted the term.

Walking southeast down Kingsway, at Inverness Street, there's now a median planted with columnar trees and groundcover roses. Wow, something beautiful on Kingsway! The median, along with new pedestrian crossings, new sidewalks, more trees on the boulevards, and a gaggle of poles destined to display public art, are supposed to make motorists slow down and notice that this is a special place.

A block along, at Clark Drive, you can see a snapshot of what the community imagined might happen in the whole area: a pocket park planted with flowers and grasses on the boulevard, patrons sitting in the sun outside a coffee shop, and neighbours pushing strollers stopping to chat before crossing at the new crosswalk.

The idea was that businesses would benefit by sprucing up the neighbourhood. Even though the city spent $2.7 million on the improvements, hardly anybody shops on Kingsway. It's dotted with Vietnamese establishments offering more beauty, health, travel, and accounting services than the local population of 3,000 Vietnamese could possibly support. Indeed, the stores - I counted at least 60 between Fraser and Knight - are usually empty.

One more block, standing at Knight, it's hard to even think about these issues. The noise and the exhaust from the 60,000 vehicles that pass each day is brutal. The worst is the trucks: 2,000 to 3,000 18-wheelers clattering so loud houses shake and residents can't even hear their TVs. It's a shame that anyone should have to live near Knight, but at least the neighbourhood's new zoning encourages the building of houses that face away from the street and into an inner courtyard. The first project is at East 28th Avenue.

The city also plans to prettify Knight but not make any changes that would slow down or reduce the number of trucks. Traffic-calming gestures include a median north of the business district, more trees, and tiny boulevards between the sidewalk and the road.

If anything is going to matter at Knight and Kingsway, it will be the King Edward Village. Developed by Francesco Aquilini, whose ownership of the Vancouver Canucks is being challenged in court, the buildings are high-quality brick and concrete with rich architectural details that whisper West Side elegance.

What I like most about the project is that it doesn't turn its back on the community. Instead, the retail outlets have doors and windows on the street. You can see all the way through the widely arched entrances on Knight, Kingsway, and King Edward that lead into a retail mews, providing a quieter space for outdoor seating for restaurants and coffee shops.

Phase 1, which has been delayed for more than a year, will finally open this month - if city workers are back on the job to issue occupancy permits for the first 212 condos.

Inexplicably, after all this time, Aquilini is still negotiating with both T&T Supermarket and Save-On Foods to get a deal signed with a major anchor. Several large businesses, such as Starbucks and a bank, are waiting to see what happens before they commit to being part of Phase II. That adds up to at least six more months before a grocery store opens, and more than a year before other stores add to the commercial clout of the area.

It's a complicated game. Only when all the dominoes drop into place next year, or the year after, will we be able to measure whether or not it was worth it.


Best place to hang out

Cedar Cottage Neighbourhood Pub
3728 Clark Avenue
Renovated seven years ago when purchased by the present neighbourly minded owners, it lives up to its moniker with comfortable leather chairs, a fireplace, fantastic homemade food, and a year-round outdoor patio that floods the underground location with natural light during the daytime. It's the kind of place where people can get together and not have to shout. Two dozen TVs for sports events, two pool tables, darts, Keno, and wireless Internet keep you entertained. Owners Kerry Williams and Kevin Kleparchuk offer rooms for community meetings, support 20 ball teams, and organized a business association. The pub also operates an upscale liquor retail outlet and cozy corner coffee shop at street level.


Best place to recall Kingsway's glory days

2400 Court Motel
2400 Kingsway
The 2400 is a living museum from the 1940s and '50s, when the automobile was king. As people embraced the car trip, gas stations, garages, caf├ęs, and overnight accommodations flourished along Kingsway. Built in 1946, the 2400 is the last surviving specimen in Vancouver of a car court with furnished bungalows placed on broad open lawns and paved parking right outside the door. Now owned by the City of Vancouver, it is still in operation and downright cheap for out-of-town guests: $100 for two with a kitchenette, and $130 for four with a full kitchen in high season. But it may not remain so for long. The city wants to develop it, boosting its ranking to No. 5 on Heritage Vancouver's endangered list.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Shitty Schedule

I have just learned that for the entire 2007/2008 NHL regular season the Canucks will not play a single game against the Leafs, Sens, or Habs. Not at home nor out east - not at all. The same is supposedly true for the two other westcoastish teams, the Oilers and the Flames. Now that is some terrible schedule making.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Inaugural Canoe Use


Stroke! Stroke!
Originally uploaded by jblueafterglow
Do you remember back in June when I wrote that we got possession of a canoe and would be using it many times this summer? Probably not, eh. Neither do I. Anyway, we went to Harrison Hot Springs on Sunday and used it for the first time. It has a spiffy new paint job - and it floats! While at Harrison Sandra and I also went Sea-Dooing, a first for both of us. The whole day was pretty radical.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Everyone'll Let You Down

I am saddened that the title of the great thirteen-year-old song by The Philosopher Kings is getting truer and truer every day.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Section U, Row 10, Seat 11

Biscotti and I were at the PNE yesterday and found ourselves at the 5pm Superdogs show at the Pacific Coliseum. Halfway through the show the host, Chase, halted the proceedings for a special appearance by the president of the PNE, Michael McDaniel. The president was present to announce and deliver a spontaneous gift to a randomly selected audience member. The lucky winner would receive a four-night trip-for-two to a five-star Jamaican resort, valued at just over forty-seven hundred dollars. The president then announced that the winner was seated in Section U, Row 10, Seat 11. Because the seating for the Superdogs show is a free-for-all, and the section indicators are virtually invisible when seated, no one knew what section they were in, or what row and seat number they were in for that matter. Then a spotlight shone down in our general direction and people several rows in front of us were turning around and looking towards us. We couldn't find our seat number, but the seat directly to Biscotti's right held her bag and that upturned seat had the number 11 on it. Biscotti wondered aloud, Is it this seat? A few seconds later the guy sitting directly in front of Biscotti's bag stood up and made his way down to the floor to collect his prize.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Splashdown

When was the last time you were at Splashdown Park in Tsawwassen? Before Friday, the last time I was there I was a single-digit age. On Friday Biscotti and I had a great time. More fun, I'm sure, than when I was a kid and very scared of the slides. I'm older and less scared now (but you still won't find me on most playland rides) and the slides were wicked awesome. All I can say is "Go! Go! Go!", no matter what age you are.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Joffre

Over the August long weekend Biscotti and I took the dogs on their first ever camping trip, and we didn't make their camping debut easy for them. We drove on up past Pemberton to Joffre Lakes Provincial Park and then hiked three hours to the camping area located on the shore of Upper Joffre Lake. The dogs did remarkably well, especially considering how many campers were up there (approx. 25-30), including - strangely - a few people we know. As you might expect with two humans and two Maremma crosses sharing a tent designed for 2-3 humans, the two nights spent in the tent were cosy affairs. See evidence of the cosiness, and other pics from the Joffre trip, by clicking here.

Three Joffre videos by us on the right sidebar:

  1. Camping at Joffre
  2. Holly at Joffre
  3. Plunging into Joffre Lake

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Another Parked Car Crash!

A few hours after our Bourne triple-header yesterday (see previous post), Biscotti was affixing new license plates to our car which was parked in front of our house. As she worked on the front plate, a car traveling eastbound was passing a left-turner on the right and side-swiped our car! Biscotti had her right hand and right hip on the front of the car and was jolted. She turned and saw the car speed up, but was able to get their license plate number. Looking at the picture of the mark left on our car (click pic to enlarge), the driver surely knew that they had made contact.

Biscotti called 911 minutes later, and after giving all the info was told that all police cars now had the info and if they saw the car they would pull it over and question the driver. That doesn't sound like they are going to immediately and actively search for this car. Why the f### not? A hit and run, person hit, license plate number and color of car known, location given, direction the car was headed given, and well, if we happen to see it then we'll ask them some questions. What the f###? Seriously... What. The. F###?

This morning we spent two hours at ICBC. Yay. Does all of this sound familiar?

Bourne Again, and Again, and Again

At 8am yesterday morning Biscotti and I put The Bourne Identity into the DVD player, pressed play, and refreshed our memories. At the end credits, at approximately 10am, we took it out of the DVD player, replaced it with The Bourne Supremacy, and continued the refreshing of our memories. At the completion of that one we headed over to Metrotown for the 1pm showing of The Bourne Ultimatum (or Ultimatium as SilverCity Metropolis would have you believe). It was a tremendously fun triple feature that I recommend to all of you.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Our Futon Cover

  1. Put two futon covers in wash
  2. Hang them both to dry in backyard
  3. Go out for evening
  4. Come home late and go to bed
  5. Wake up in the morning
  6. See only one futon cover hanging*
  7. Look all over backyard
  8. Ask neighbor if it's in their yard
  9. Denial over - someone swiped it
  10. About 5pm see something inside back gate
  11. Futon cover has been returned

* the cover that was taken was the one further out on the line and was very high up and would've taken mucho effort to get off the line and we found a few clothespegs on the ground with one clothespeg still on the line.

Possible explanations:

  • The thief couldn't look themselves in the mirror and returned it (doubtful)
  • The thief was a child and their parents made them return it (doubtful)
  • The thief realized that the futon cover didn't fit what the thief wanted it to fit and figured they'd return it (likely)

Can you think of any other explanations?

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Flight of the Conchords "Humans Are Dead"

Flight of the Conchords "Beautiful Girl"

Flight of the Conchords "Business Time"

July 2007 In Review

I took a blogging hiatus and it was swell. Now I'm back and we have some catch-up to do. Here's how July went down...

Biscotti and I went to Whistler from July 13-15 for our first anniversary. While there, we did the Rainbow Lake hike which neither of us had done before. There was a lot more snow than we were expecting, and Rainbow Lake was almost entirely covered, but hey, it was a good time nonetheless. Some very nice waterfalls while en route. See pics from the hike here.

Also while in Whistler we went to Mongolie Grill, which shouldn't really surprise anyone. What will surprise you, as it did us, is that our respective bowls of chow weighed the exact same! Crazy eh? Well, we thought it was cool. And so did the guy who weighed the bowls. So you should too.

Many times recently, I read in papers and magazines the word majority. I heard many people say it too. And every single time I read and heard it, it was preceded by another word: vast. Is every majority vast? No, but you wouldn't know it these days.. It seems the vast majority of people, especially the collective media folk, need to learn that they can use the latter word without using the former word.

I've been checking in on this site Mondays fortnightly as author Yann Martel continues to send Prime Minister Stephen Harper books. Martel has received a response from the first book sent, albeit from Susan I. Ross, Assistant to the PM. The latest book, la huitieme (sorry, no accent graves, or agus), is a book of very short poems. Check out this poem, known as the world's shortest:

Fleas
Adam
'ad 'em

And now to an example of horrible things humans are capable of. As you may have heard, NFL QB Michael Vick of the Atalnta Falcons is charged with involvement in a dogfighting operation run from a house that Vick owns. The details are gruesome, and the entire thing is abhorrent. If Vick was involved in any manner, that's bad enough, but what I find equally offensive are the comments made by Washington Redskins RB Clinton Portis.

In the June 4th edition of Sports Illustrated, writer George Dohrmann quotes Portis as saying, "It's [Vick's] property; it's his dogs. If that's what he wants to do, do it". He also said that if Vick were convicted of dogfighting, he would be "behind bars for no reason". Remarkable. Dohrmann writes, 'Animal control officials call this the "just dogs" mentality. "It's just dogs," explains [Kathy] Strouse, "so why does it matter?"'

In the July 30th edition of SI Jack McCallum writes that 'Portis also expressed the learned opinion that if dogfighting is held behind closed doors, then it's O.K.' McCallum also writes, 'According to the indictment ... as recently as April Vick and two of his associates executed about eight dogs in ways that stunned John Goodwin, an animal-fighting expert for the Humane Society of the United States. "Why would someone kill a dog this way?" asks Goodwin. "the only reason I can think if is that they took some pleasure in it, which is just sick."' Humans really piss me off sometimes.

Now to a happier topic! Flight of the Conchords. A friend asked if I'd heard of them - I hadn't - and a few days later finally looked them up on youtube and after watching just one video I instantly fell in love. Flight of the Conchords is a New Zealand folk, pop, and comedy duo composed of Bret and Jemaine (wikipedia). I will be posting three youtube videos soon, today if you're lucky, but I also strongly recommend watching their new television show. You can do so at this site. Each episode has three parts, each part about 8-9 minutes in length, about as long as a halfhour show would be without commercials. What are ya waiting for, give it a go mate. I root root root for this show to be aired on a Canadian network, like maybe Showcase or Bravo or the Comedy Network.

I saw the Simpsons movie the night before last - loved it.

After a few months after my last run (which itself was a year or so after my last run before that), I went for a run last Thursday in Pacific Spirit Park with Maui & Holly - and felt surprisingly good during and after. I didn't have high hopes of endurance but was able to go for about 35-40 minutes. A second outing yesterday morning was more difficult. I have a goal - set while writing this paragraph - of doing a half-marathon in 2008 and a full marathon in 2009. I guess that's two goals.. All of that was an intro to saying that I'm trying to get into shape by being more active. I'm cycling more, both for recreation and transportation. I play baseball for a Surrey team and most of our games are in Surrey or other such locales which are a tad difficult to get to on a bicycle from Vancouver. On Saturday July 7th we were supposed to have a game at Blue Mountain Park in Coquitlam. I was psyching myself up to cycle there, was planning the best route, and then the game was canceled.

On July 24th though, we had a midweek game at Central Park in Burnaby. After the aforementioned disappointment I didn't hesitate to pack up one of my panniers with my uniform and necessary equipment and cycle on over. Twenty minutes after leaving home I arrived at the park. Man it felt good. I felt like I was 12 years old again, cycling to a baseball game while wearing my full uniform (yup, cleats too) and carrying my glove in a plastic bag hanging from my wrist. Anyway, after arriving at Central Park after the nice leisurely bike ride, I was entertained by teammates' stories of traffic hell over the bridges and through the cities with this midweek rush-hour game being much more of a traffic headache than our usual Sunday games.

That's it, I'm done. I now return you to your regularly scheduled summer, or winter if you're on the flipside of the planet, like in New Zealand or something..

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

COACNEOAEN

Knock knock. Who's there? Canoe. Canoe who? Canoe come out and play.

Biscotti and I were gifted with a canoe on Sunday. We're very excited. We envision many summer days of taking the canoe out onto the ocean.

If I had a boat, I'd go out on the ocean, and if I had a pony, I'd ride him on my boat. And we could all together, go out on the ocean, me upon my pony on my boat.

Now we've got a boat, and instead of a pony we've got two dogs, also known as fat donkeys. Maybe we'll attempt to have the fat donkeys swim beside the canoe.

Canoe. Ocean. The same five letters. Pretty cool.

NACOE - Native American Center of Excellence
ANECO - Agusan del Norte Electric Cooperative (Philippines)
ENCOA - Enemy Course of Action

Monday, June 18, 2007

Nat Bailey Makeover

After the triple-A Canadians left town, replaced by the single-A Canadians, catching a game at Nat Bailey Stadium was less appealing. After a few seasons of absence I went to a couple of games last season and found myself enjoying it. This season's season opener is Tuesday June 19th, and this week's Georgia Straight has an article about work that was done on the prettiest little ballpark in North America over the off-season.

Here are highlights...
  • The outside of the stadium has been painted and now includes 18 large panels of baseball art. The exterior also includes retro 1950s-style printing, giving it a nostalgic baseball feel.
  • The outfield fence has been painted and moved forward about four metres in hopes of producing a few more home runs.
  • The original scoreboard has been removed and replaced by a replica that is now embedded in the outfield fence and still requires someone to manually hang the scores inning by inning.
  • All chainlink fencing has been removed down the first and third base lines, bringing people much closer to the action. "We still have some netting behind home plate, but the fans that are down the first and third base lines are going to feel like they're on the field," [new owner Jake] Kerr says. "The good news is spectators are going to feel like they're on the field; the bad news is they're going to have to be wide-awake and have their gloves with them because they're going to be much more in the action than they ever have been before."
  • The food-service areas have been given a complete face-lift and the paying customers will get far more bang for their buck this year. "We're not raising prices, but we are improving quality, and we're certainly in some cases improving quantity," Kerr explains. "Last year's 16-ounce beer will be 20 ounces for the same price. And the hot dogs and the bratwursts will be a heck of a lot better, we think."

Click here for the full article.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Ready or Not.. BRRANNNNG

A kid and I were waiting for school to be over and for the afterschool programs to begin.

Kid: When is the bell going to go?
Me: Let's see.. it's two forty-three, so in seventeen minutes.
Kid: I think the bell is playing hide-and-seek with us.
Me: ??

Sunday, June 10, 2007

38 Pitches

Curt Schilling is a pitcher for the Red Sox. He has a blog. A day or two after each start, he posts a summary of his performance. People then comment in droves (unfortunately you have to have a WordPress account to be able to comment). On Thursday, Schilling was still pitching in the bottom of the ninth and had two outs. He was working on a no-hitter. The next batter got a single. D'OH!

In the post for that game - 6/7/07 vs. Oakland - he writes that "someone referenced Ben Davis bunting to break up a perfect game in the 8th inning in 2002. I said what I’ve always said. I never said a word about that bunt and whether or not I thought it was ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, and I never have. The game was 2-0 at that point, so the tying run was at the plate and the hitter was someone who’d swung the bat well against me."

Now, a perfect game means that there have been no baserunners. How then, with a 2-0 lead and a perfect game in progress, can a batter represent the tying run?

Friday, June 08, 2007

Dentist Confirmation Redux

Exactly a year and a half ago, to the day, I posted a post about confirming an impending dentist appointment. I wrote then that I received a reminder postcard a week before the appointment, asking me to call and confirm, which I did, and then I received a voicemail the day before the appointment asking me - once again - to call and confirm, which I did. I had thought, and still do think, that two requests for confirmation, both within a week of the appointment and by two different modes of communication, was a bit excessive.

Which brings us to today, June 8, 2007. I just retrieved today's mail, which included a postcard from the dentist. It's time to get together again... reads the card. You are due for your regular dental check-up and cleaning appointment. The date and time is handwritten, and then highlighted yellow is this: Please call us today to confirm the above appointment. The kicker? The appointment is on August 23, 2007.

So I'm supposed to call to confirm a dentist appointment two and a half months in advance?!?!? I'm not going to call today, or tomorrow, or next week. I'll wait until it's just a tad bit closer, like within a fortnight, or a month even. Besides, even if I do call and confirm today, past experience tells me that they'll be calling and mailing me postcards biweekly for two and a half months, expecting me to call and confirm each time.

How 'bout just one confirmation request, 5-7 business days before the appointment?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Ron & Rudy & 9/11

My friend Robin posted a very interesting post on his blog yesterday. It's a video excerpt of the last GOP debate and features Ron Paul and Rudy Giuliani and talk about 9/11. Check it out.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

SI in SI, Si?

All of you should know and some of you do know that I play baseball for the Surrey Indians. The team has a blog and the team needs your help. See how you can help by clicking here. It will take just a few minutes. Thanks in advance.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Maze Daze

I created this piece of work while at work last Monday. The kids were in awe. Click to enlarge.

Friday, May 11, 2007

The Blog Show Winner

I put all the received tickets together and had a beautiful human draw one of the tickets. The drawn ticket was the one that was turned in by Jason. Congrats. I have a cage full of monkeys working round the clock to determine what your prize will be.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Monday, April 30, 2007

What is Stephen Harper reading?

Inspired by a "tribute" author Yann Martel (Life of Pi) got an idea and that idea has a website. In his words:

...For as long as Stephen Harper is Prime Minister of Canada, I vow to send him every two weeks, mailed on a Monday, a book that has been known to expand stillness. That book will be inscribed and will be accompanied by a letter I will have written. I will faithfully report on every new book, every inscription, every letter, and any response I might get from the Prime Minister...

Book #1: The Death of Ivan Ilych by Leo Tolstoy, sent April 16 2007.
Book #2: Animal Farm by George Orwell, sent today.